Dr Roberto Rossi: “Invisible dental treatment – an art not just a business”
‘Biomimetic’ comes from the Ancient Greek Bio (meaning nature) and Mimetics (meaning to mimic). Put simply, it is a discipline that tries to copy nature. Something is biomimetic when you can barely tell that it is a fake. In dentistry, this concept applies to an ‘invisible’ treatment – one which produces results that cannot be distinguished from the natural dentition.
The demand for this standard of aesthetic outcome is growing among dental patients around the world. More and more patients are seeking treatment outcomes that mimic their natural teeth – in our appearance-conscious society, nobody wants a fake tooth that does not blend in with the adjacent teeth.
This therefore applies to all fields of dentistry, but is especially relevant in dental implantology. Patients are required to invest a significant amount of time and money for successful therapy, so they deserve reassurances of a favourable result.
The challenge of delivering biomimetic dentistry is in achieving a degree of perfection with regards to aesthetics. It is necessary to be completely up-to-date with all relevant materials and methods in order to consistently make the right diagnosis and then offer the most appropriate treatment.
Unfortunately, we often see what appear to be beautiful treatment outcomes, but the techniques used to get there are very much unjustified. Ethics and aesthetics should always work in tandem. Compromising ethics for aesthetics is never acceptable.
In order to achieve the best possible aesthetic result, there are six key areas that need to be carefully assessed and optimised.
1. Soft tissue problems (such as gingival recessions)
2. Bony problems (such as infra-bony defects)
3. Soft and hard tissue problems (ridge defects)
4. Periodontal and prosthodontic problems (around natural teeth and dental implants)
5. Excessive gingival display problems (gummy smiles / high smile line)
6. Peri-implantology problems (making dental-implant retained restorations look like natural teeth)
There are many products and techniques available within the dental profession today that enable practitioners to replace or restore missing or damaged gingiva. Similarly, we have the tools to repair and regenerate new viable bone. We have the ability to reconstruct the jawbone where it has been traumatised or distorted due to periodontal disease, failed dental implants or peri-implantitis.
We also have the technology and the collective expertise to design and fabricate prostheses that maximise smile aesthetics, while still encouraging long-term stability and function.
As dentists, we are very lucky that our profession is always moving forward so quickly that new materials and techniques develop daily. This constant evolution changes paradigms that previously seemed set in stone. It also means that for some patients, what may once have been impossible to achieve is now possible.
Consequently, it is very important that professionals keep up with the latest ideas and innovations in the industry. It is equally as important to remain open minded – only by testing new products and getting to understand their benefits for patients and practices can we ensure we are offering the highest possible standard of care.
In fact, when it comes to the aesthetic outcome of dental implant treatment, there are specially tailored solutions available for most problems. The benefits of this are first and foremost for the patient. They can once more enjoy an unrestricted diet, easy speech and greater self-confidence for improved quality of life as a result of successful dental implantology.
In addition, clinicians benefit from happy patients who are more likely to become good advertisements for both dental implant therapy in general and the clinic. All this helps to enhance people’s general perspectives of dentistry, while also giving the individual business a boost at the same time.
A colleague and friend of mine, Nini Massironi, promotes a philosophy that I believe can be effectively applied to all dentistry, especially when striving for a biomimetic outcome. It involves the three ‘H’s’ – we must use our head, hands and heart in order to be good clinicians.
We need to know what we are doing; we need to undergo good training and we need to build up our experience. Most importantly, we must love what we do. The passion is what makes dentistry an art and not just a business.
This is just one example of the topics covered by ADI Study Clubs this year. Dedicated to supporting professional education, the ADI provides an array of learning opportunities as part of its membership benefits. For more details about ADI Study Clubs 2019, or to join, visit www.adi.org.uk/studyclubs
The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and not necessarily those of the ADI.
Dr Roberto Rossi graduated in dentistry with honours in Genova and then specialised in Periodontology at Boston University Graduate School of Dental Medicine in 1992. He received an MScD in Periodontology with a publication in the Journal of Periodontology.
After returning to Italy, Dr Rossi established a practice limited to periodontology and implant dentistry. He has since been involved in research within the field of guided tissue regeneration. He has been a Professor in the Department of Periodontology in different Universities (Genova, Padova, Pisa, Chieti, Roma) and is a Professor for the Master in Periodontology programme at the University of Roma ‘Sapienza since 2000.
He is a member of the Italian Society of Perio (sidP), an international member of the American Academy of Periodontology and an active member of the Italian Society of Esthetic Dentistry (IAED). Dr Rossi is also an honorary member of the Bohemian Society of Implantology and former secretary of the Boston University Italian Alumni Association.
Dr Rossi is a national and international speaker and an author of publications on peer reviewed magazines. He was also involved with the book ‘Bone Biomaterials and Beyond’, having contributed to the chapters on guided tissue regeneration.